English Christmas Pudding

Our cooking experience this week was a true math and science lesson. We made English Christmas Pudding. Anne-Marie at Life's Adventures recently did a post about English Christmas Pudding which included wonderful directions. You are supposed to make it during lent and let it sit for about eight months (until Christmas) to eat it.


1. We learned there are 16 oz in 1 lb. Since the directions are English food is measured by weight instead of volume. (i.e. lbs instead of cups). When my son was weighing out 1 lb of bread to make into crumbs, the scale was set for pounds and ounces. Right away he said "Each time I add a piece to the scale that number (oz) goes up. When will the other one (lbs) change from 0 to 1."

2. We learned 1 lb of raisins = 1 lb of bread, but the volume of space the food takes up is different. For the last year or so, this has been a regular dinner discussion. "What weighs more a pound of bricks or a pound of cotton?" Each time this question is asked my son yells "a pound of bricks", the girls laugh and say "no, they are the same." Well we discussed this after weighing the bread and raisins today and I think he may have gotten it.
3. We learned that there are about 2 tsp per 10 mL. The recipe called for 10 mL of ground almonds and we couldn't find any measuring devices for mL. Then we asked our best friend Mr. Internet and he knew the answer.

 4. We noticed that many products include a weight measurement of the contents on the packaging.

1. We learned that water turns into steam and disappears. Since the pudding had to be steamed for eight hours we were constantly checking to make sure the water didn't run out.

2. We are wondering why Christmas Pudding doesn't rot. We haven't yet learned the answer to this question, but it has inspired our curiosity. Hopefully we will know the answer by Christmas.

Well maybe ours will rot? We made several substitutions as I couldn't find all the required ingredients.

Required Ingredients                                  Our Substitutions
1 lb of bread crumbs
1 lb of currants                                               1 lb dried cranberries, cherries and plums
1 lb of raisins
1 lb of golden raisins
1 oz crystalized ginger                                    1/4 tsp ginger powder
3 oz candied orange and lemon peel               fresh peelings from two clementines and some extra raisins
2 carrots
1 apple
10 ml ground almonds
1 lb vegetable suet                                         1 lb grated frozen butter
2 tbsp golden syrup                                        2 tbsp maple syrup
5 oz dark ale beer
3 tbsp brandy

Hearth & Soul Hop One Artsy Mama Science Sunday the educators' spin on it


  1. Wonderful, I am going to send this link to my friend she will be thrilled:) I am not sure what stops it from spoiling but I have been assured it doesn't spoil:). Can't wait to see if yours turns out (as well as mine). So glad you tried it out...I am trying to figure out a way to sneak the one I made for my mother with out customs confiscating it:)

    Loved the way you made it a school project with the kids:) I will do that next year!

  2. My great Auntie Sybil would be delighted! (It was an old family recipe) She was a housekeeper in a rich household in Southern UK, and knew a thing or two about cooking.....I hope you enjoy the puddings! As for why they keep - I am afraid it is something to do with the fat content....plus, after all that steaming, with the little parchment paper hats on, they are sort of canned I suppose. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you for sharing the recipe. A lb of butter sure seemed like a lot. I didn't realize that would keep it from rotting. I figured it was the steaming and the brandy.

  3. What a great way to cook, to think about all the different elements! Very impressive. And I bet it will taste sooo good come Christmas!! Thanks for sharing on Happy lil ❤'s are baking x

  4. I have NEVER heard of this! What an idea- I would never imagine that you could make a dessert that could last that long. I must say, as a math teacher, I LOVE all of the math that just oozes out of this lesson! Cooking is such a great way to make learning math natural. My daughter is in first grade and hasn't learned fractions yet in school, but we talk about them all the time when we bake. One day I said to her- we need 3/4 of a cup of sugar, but I don't have a measuring cup that says 3/4 cup, what should we do? She said, "Can't we just use three of these?" (and held up the 1/4) In this context it seems like common sense but for kids who are taught that fractions are pictures of shapes and that they have to follow a set of rules to do any operations with fractions- this is not so common sense... anyways, sorry to ramble- I was just very excited by the math in your lesson!!

    1. I agree. Natural methods are such a great way to teach math. Although we do pencil and paper math problems I try to incorporate lots of natural math as well; cooking, music and sewing are big here.

  5. love that cute chef, Delicious pudding he is making.Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop. I don't know anything about homeschooling. so I can't comment.

  6. I love your blog! Such fun you have with your kids. We would love to have you come and link up with us at Kids in the Kitchen linky: http://younglivingoillady.com/home/kids-in-the-kitchen-link-up-week-5/
    This would be so great for other moms/kids to see and all of us homeschool peeps would REALLY love to have you share!
    Please feel free to come and link up your family friendly recipes with us, each Tuesday and those cute kids helping too! WE love that!
    Blessings, Carrie

  7. Apparently when I tried to comment earlier on my phone it didn't take.

    I never really thought about the measuring and conversion and all of that for science. I also didn't know the British use weight for their measurements.

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!


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